The Rules of Civility Are Not Always What They Seem

BlogHer Review

The main stage opens for Rules of Civility at a low-rent bar in Manhattan on New Year’s Eve in 1937. There, author Amor Towles, introduces the reader to Katey Kontent and her good friend Evelyn Ross who are celebrating the coming year in a seedy low-end venue where their dollars can stretch the farthest. It’s the last place they would expect to meet a wealthy banker by the name of Theodore (Tinker) Grey.

Towles opens the novel with vivid prose that lures you into the lives of these three characters and demonstrates how a chance encounter can forever change people’s lives. Tinker introduces the young women to a New York world filled with glitz and glamor and before long they each find themselves rubbing elbows with some of society’s finest socialites.

The novel is told primarily through the eyes of Katey, who begins to fall for Tinker, but is unfortunately pushed aside due to unforeseen events throughout the novel. As the main character, Katey is portrayed as strong and bold. She is the daughter of immigrants and works as a low-paid secretary, yet she has no trouble holding her own among the highbrow beaus she meets throughout 1938.

As the novel unfolds Katey learns that people aren’t always as they seem. She discovers that just as she leaves out certain elements of her past, so too do some of the friends around her. She initially feels betrayed and disheartened by the ever-unfolding stories of those she cares for, but as the story proceeds she begins to understand that people learn to strive and thrive in the world through different means. As the story progresses she learns to recognize that many actions are taken in the quest to forge a plentiful and prosperous life. It’s a goal that she is all too familiar with, a goal that she too has yearned to attain.

Rules of Civility is a story about love, life and chance encounters. It is told through the eyes and words of a young woman with the wit and wisdom to take on the world.